Often called the "Father of Europe,"Charlemagne (circa 742-814), King of the Franks, brought to his lands a unity unknown since the Roman Empire.The Franks had steadily gained power since the collapse of Rome in 476. When Charlemagne assumed the throne in 768 at the age of 26 after the death of his father, King Pepin the Short, he inherited close ties to the Catholic Church. An energetic warrior and statesman, Charlemagne conquered Germany, France, northern Spain, and most Italy, then forced the defeated to accept Christianity. During his reign, the ancient term "Europe" was revived to describe the realm, but the Frankish state he founded is known as the Carolingian Empire.A firm believer in education, Charlemagne is said to have ushered in the Carolingian Renaissance. He supported the arts, funded great libraries in the monasteries, and increased the number of scriptoria where books were copied and translated. Carolingian scholars preserved most of the classical Latin works that survive today and developed a more legible script, an early source for modern italic The most famous moment of Charle magne's reign occurred at Mass on Christmas Day in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, in 800. Pope Leo crowned Charlemagne, proclaiming him Charles Augustus, Holy Roman Emperor. From then on, the papacy was loyal to Europe rather than Byzantium.